An adoptive mother found her deceased son clutching their dead dog in Lahaina, Hawaii, days after first responders allegedly prevented her from looking through that area.
Luz Vargas worried for her teenage son Keyiro Fuentes’ life after learning the wildfire spread to their neighborhood, CBS News reported. She and her husband Andres reportedly rushed home and encountered a traffic standstill, leading her to sprint.
“I was told, ‘Don’t go, don’t go,’ but I responded, ‘My son,'” Vargas said.
Vargas then encountered a police barricade and had been taken to the front line of the fire, the outlet reported. First responders reportedly told Vargas the area had been cleared and to have faith her son escaped the flames.
Two days later, Vargas entered the ruins of her property and found her son “in ashes” clutching the dog.
“He was not as I expected, in ashes. God maintained him like this. So, we knew it was him,” the grieving mother said.
And in her own words 😔💔
— Mrs. SpaceX ™️ (@anuibi) August 22, 2023
Andres and the couple’s other son Josue wrapped Fuentes’ lifeless body in a tarp and carried it to the local police station, per CBS News.
Fuentes would have celebrated his 15th birthday Sunday and enjoyed his final day of summer vacation at the time of his death, the outlet reported. A memorial was held in his honor at a park to celebrate his would-be birthday. (RELATED: ‘Not Now’: Biden Skirts Questions On Maui Disaster, Walks Away From Press)
The wildfires left at least 114 people dead, becoming the deadliest wildfire in the U.S. in over a century. The Maui County mayor estimated at least 850 people have currently gone missing since the fires, according to CBS News.
Residents in West Maui faced a barricade that prevented them from escaping the wildfires, causing many locals to evade authorities’ obstacles to stay alive. Many were blocked when they encountered several Hawaiian Electric trucks replacing telephone poles along the road to Highway 30, and they had been instructed to return to Lahaina.
Some swerved around the barricade and drove on dirt roads to escape, while many others tragically died in their cars.
President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden visited the devastations in Lahaina Monday. In the president’s speech, he recalled a house fire in his kitchen that had been put out by first responders. Many angry and distressed residents yelled profanities at the president during his visit.